Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Conjure Some Small Change

Fall is bursting forth in Wolfach, Germany

It sits pregnant with its summer of growth.  The pulp oozes through the ragged split on one side.  A plump harbinger of autumn, its flashy orange competes with purple asters, lemon yellow waxy bells hanging pendulous over dark leaves, the bright blooms of a fall windflower waving in the breeze, suspended over all.  Soon it will bring color to a wooden table around which the family gathers, or with sugar and spice it will help celebrate another year of thanksgiving, or it will glow from within to conjure up devils while chasing away the gloom.  It signals the coming cold.

(This scene is brought to you by this week’s Write on Edge prompt to conjure something -- an object, a person, a feeling, a color, a season, whatever – in 100 words.)

I’m in a mad race against time right now to clean up my garden as best I can in the next two weeks.  At that point I head in for some surgery that I hope will alleviate long-standing problems with my neck and arm.  With each yank at the volunteer saplings that took root while I was in France, I feel a twinge in my shoulder or a spasm in my upper trapezius. Zinnias I didn’t plant but that buried themselves safely in the soil at the end of last summer’s crop brighten the chilly mornings when I look out my kitchen window.

This whole thing of transitions and change (physical and seasonal) is making me eager for my own purposeful transformation.  The first one came when I said goodbye to fast food.  But now I think I’ll up the stakes a little.  At least for these last two weeks before I become slightly incapacitated (goodbye yoga, I’ll miss you).  I’m trying to live a healthier and more stress-free life (hence time in the garden) as a way to prepare for a speedier recovery – go in healthy, things work better.  Right?

Blogger Amanda West provided a way for me to channel this good energy outward.  She writes with enthusiasm.  And the beginning of this month she came up with an idea of how lowly bloggers can join together to do some small thing to help others in need.  You can read all the details here in her inspired post.  The gist is give up something for a week (or more) and donate that money to the charity of your choice and blog about it.

I couldn’t think of what to give up to earn money.  I don’t drink coffee, so no expensive lattes to abandon.  I’ve already given up fast food, if you recall.  I’m cutting way back on soda and sugar along with the fast food.  I write at home, so I can’t brown bag it at work instead of going out.  So I got creative.  How can I do something that is good for me that can earn money for others?

What I waste the most of is not money; it’s time.  And that is time I’m not writing.  So between now and Oct. 19 (D-day for surgery) I’m going to challenge myself in two specific ways to stop wasting time and get productive.  First, every time I click over on my computer to some useless bit of gossip about a celebrity or piano-playing kittens or other news-I-can’t-use I’m going to put a quarter in a jar.  Maybe this way I can break a horrible habit.  Second, I’m going to commit to writing 500 words each day.  On blog days, that’s no problem.  However, I find myself slacking off on the other days, especially weekends.  I will write at least 500 words seven days a week.  Any day I don’t I’ll add a dollar to the jar.

Where will the money go?  The Outreach program at my church raises money for the Millenium Development Goals.  It’s a United Nations program to end poverty and hunger, educate every child, develop plans for environmental sustainability and other actions.  If I end up with a pot of money, my church group will get it.  If I actually succeed, and therefore I have no money in my jar, I’ll still donate at least $20 for my two-week challenge.

If you want to join Amber’s challenge, you can jump in any time between now and the end of the month.  The Twitter handle is #gowithout if you want to see what others took on.

This is only one of many beautiful bridges in Wolfach, Germany

What makes you feel a change of season the most?  Do you have any season-changing rituals?  Share your thoughts in the comments box.


Cameron said...

Love your pumpkin, it's very evocative.

And the rest of your post is food for though as weel.

angela said...

Beautiful pumpkin! It's such a universal symbol of fall and can be so many different things!

Anonymous said...

I love your idea for paying when you waste time. I, too, am in the same boat you are when it comes to giving something up. When we're not traveling, we live very simply...but I do spend too much time reading comments on the Huffington Post!

My husband and I live with one (older) car and prefer to donate to charity instead. Since we both work at home, it doesn't feel like much of a sacrifice, but every now and then someone makes a snarky remark about "Why doesn't Henry drive a newer car?" We get much more joy from trying to do some good. I list our charities on a page on my blog, if anyone is looking for some ideas!

Megan (Best of Fates) said...

I adore "will glow from within to conjure up devils while chasing away the gloom" - you have such a beautiful gift with words.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for joining up and telling others about the #gowithout cause!

samantha stacia said...

Great post as always Julie! I think it was cool that you shared the link but also what you are doing. I think you came up with a great solution!
I read this post while I am actually sitting in my fuzzy pj bottoms and listening to the sounds of a trickling winter storm at my window. My ritual actually I did last week-major house cleaning. Most people do Spring cleaning but when I know its getting that time to start batting down the hatches-I clean.
samantha stacia

Julie Farrar said...

And so I have to come back and report, alas, I've had to add some chips to my jar. Well, more money for a worthy cause.

Bella said...

Julie, I love, love your idea of helping a worthy cause! We should all be so creative! That said, may I say I took one look at the pumpking photo and fell in love? I love the burst of color of the flowers against the bright orange backdrop!

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